Federal judge says Biden restaurant fund discriminated against white male
A federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary ruling Tuesday which found that the Biden administration’s nearly $29 billion restaurant relief fund discriminated against a white male restaurateur.
In an 18-page ruling, the judge ordered the Small Business Administration (SBA) relief program to temporarily stop prioritizing funding applications from businesses owned by women and racial minorities, over that of the plaintiff.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, found that the plaintiff is “experiencing race and sex discrimination at the hand of government officials.”
“The evidence submitted by plaintiffs indicates that the entire $28.6 billion in the Restaurant Revitalization Fund may be depleted before plaintiffs’ application can be considered for relief under the program,” O’Connor wrote.
The dispute arose after Philip Greer, a white male restaurant owner, brought a lawsuit on Sunday against the SBA over alleged violations of the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.
Greer had sought to apply for the federal relief program after his restaurant, Greer’s Ranch Café, lost nearly $100,000 in revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.
But the program, which is part of the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed in March, aims to give priority to groups that Greer does not fall under — namely women, veterans and “socially and economically disadvantaged” people — for an initial period of May 3 to May 24.
The judge concluded that Greer was at risk of “irreparable harm” because the entire fund could run out by the time the prioritized groups’ claims were processed.
Greer’s lawsuit was backed by the America First Legal Foundation, a conservative litigation firm led by former Trump aide Stephen Miller.
“This ruling is the first, but crucial, step towards ending government-sponsored racial discrimination,” Miller said in a statement. “We are proud to have obtained this order for our courageous client at this initial stage, but we have a long way to go.”
An attorney for the Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.